TechAlum News

November 8, 2004 (Vol. 11, No. 26)

An award-winning weekly electronic newsletter for alumni and friends of Michigan Technological University. Written and distributed by Dean Woodbeck '78, Senior Director of University Communications.

In this issue:

  • Husky Tales
  • At da Tech
  • Around Town
  • From the E-mailbag
  • E-mail Updates/Welcome to new subscribers
  • Alumni Chapter Events
  • Job Opportunities
  • Electronic Services for Alumni

Husqi Tales

 We had just a wee dusting of snow overnight but nothing that will stay very long. It is time for snow. This in-between time of year offers up cold rain, cold winds and overcast days. I say, let's just drop the temp a few degrees and have snow, cold winds and overcast days. At least you can go out and play in the snow.

And that is just what the football Huskies might do when they host an NCAA Division II playoff game on November 20. If I were head coach Bernie Anderson, I'd have the facilities plows standing by. Too bad the foe will be either North Dakota or St. Cloud. They are too used to the cold for Tech to have any home-field advantage in that department.

I read yesterday that this in-between season is the peak time for people to clean garages and basements and try to reduce the clutter. That is certainly true around here, but mainly because a homeowner must reprioritize--the winter implements of destruction must be near the garage door, while the summer implements of destruction are relegated to the back corner. Goodbye lawnmower and hello snowblower.

We conducted that exchange yesterday, pulling everything out of the garage onto the driveway, filling up trash bags, sweeping the floor, then restocking for winter mode. Jay and I even tore out a shelf to make room for the table saw moving up from the basement.

My wife doesn't know it yet, but that means the garage will soon need some heat source, since you can't expect a guy to perform precision cuts wearing mittens in the cold. And think about how much happier the Husqvarna snowblower (yep, Old Husqi) would be if it could thaw each night. I have a nice spot in one corner where a wood stove would fit right in.

ALUMNI BULLETIN BOARD: Remember the alumni bulletin board for you to use for discussions related to this newsletter, Tech sports, or anything else:

At Da Tech

TECH SECOND IN HEAVY/CIVIL BID COMPETITION: Michigan Tech placed second in the ASC Great Lakes Region III Heavy/Civil Division bid competition held in Downers Grove, Ill. Six teams six students each spent 16 hours estimating the cost to build a project. This year's project was an airport reconstruction in Southern California. The competition simulates the real world pressures of analyzing a project, identifying the risks and then realistically pricing it.

MATH PROF SEARCHES FOR DISEASE-CAUSING GENES: Associate Professor Huann-Sheng Chen (Mathematical Sciences) has received a $142,000 grant from the National Institute on Aging to help search for disease-causing genes. Chen aims to develop a statistical model that will take a major factor in disease, its age of onset, into account. More:

TECH HOSTS LEGO REGIONAL SATURDAY: Elementary and middle school teams from all over the western and central U.P. will converge on the Michigan Tech campus November 13 for the FIRST LEGO League regional competition. All teams have the same challenge and will use the LEGO Mindstorms robotic invention system to program a robot capable of completing the challenge's various missions. Each team also does a research project on how robot technology can help people with disabilities. More:

FOURWHEELERS CLEAN UP: The Michigan Tech Fourwheelers Club held their annual clean-up day last week, removing at least 50 tires and 20 major appliances from a snowmobile trail north of Laurium. The club filled two dump trucks and two pick-up trucks with debris. The clean-up is an annual service of the club.

SMARTZONE RECEIVES GRANT: The Michigan Tech Enterprise SmartZone will receive a $450,000 grant, funded through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, to support start-up businesses in the area. The grant will assist entrepreneurs in three industries: homeland security, advanced automotive, and life sciences.

FOR MORE INFORMATION from Tech, see the weekly newsletter Tech Topics:

Around Town

LAKE PROPERTY/COTTAGE FOR SALE: Marilyn Pierce has a Lake Superior lot with cottage for sale in the Betsy area of the Keweenaw. Call 906-482-7154 or 906-296-0962.

WOLF FOUND IN LOWER PENINSULA: For the first time since gray wolves were classified as endangered, a member of their tribe has been found in the northern lower peninsula. The wolf was found in Presque Isle County in northeastern lower Michigan. The gray wolf population exceeds the standards set out for recovery, with more than 3,000 in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota, including about 360 in Michigan. Those numbers don't take into account the wolf population at Isle Royale, which jumped to 29 in the most recent survey.

From the E-mailbag

E-mail from Dannette Utecht '94 (deandani(at)


I wish I could be there (Bash at the Big House)! While
I was moaning this morning as I dropped my first
grader off at school that I would miss this game
because of a Tiger Cub Go-See-It unfortunately
scheduled at the SAME TIME, I was pleasantly surprised
to find out that his school secretary (and family)
and the Kindergarten teacher (and extended family on a
chartered bus!) will all be going to the game.
Neither of them attended Tech, but they heard about
the game and wanted to take their kids! What great PR!

They were also complaining about the behavior of the
students/attendees at the UofM/MSU game last week. I
told them that I hoped the tech students would prove
to be better mannered. The principal's daughter had
her car smashed by the opposing team's "fans".

My thoughts will be with you all Saturday -- as I
freeze in the rain being a good parent and trailing
along with Tiger Cubs on an nature hike:)

E-mail from John (Sarge) Helge '75 (jhelge(at)


If we get half of the people who responded to your
Game 7 gaffe in the stands this coming Saturday in Ann
Arbor we will be sure to set the new NCAA Division II
attendance record! It must be SO gratifying to see so
many people reading your weekly newsletter and caring
enough to point out your opportunities for

It is my sincere hope that by the time this is posted
in next week's Tech Alum newsletter that the 2004 Michigan Tech
football team will be the first in history to post an
undefeated 10-win record! I had the privilege of
being a part of the 1974 Team that went 9-0 and posted
the last undefeated record for Michigan Tech. 30 years later
many members of that team are now leaders in their
communities as doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, and
business executives. All of us from 1974 take great
joy seeing these young men carve out another 9-win
season! The 2004 team has done it while playing in
the toughest Division II football conference in the
USA. The 2004 team has risen the adversity of losing
their funding from the university just 18 months ago.
The 2004 team, like that 1974 team, is made up of
STUDENT-athletes who face the same academic challenges
of most Michigan Tech students.

All Michigan Tech alumni should be proud of the football program
at Tech. No young man ventures to Houghton just to
play football. They come for the practical education
and a chance to start a career. Coach Bernie Anderson
has given the best part of his life to this University
during his 20-year tenure. He deserves our accolades
and respect, not just for this 2004 season, but for a
career dedicated to showing young men the power of
working together for a common goal. Coach Anderson
has provided many of us with practical life-lessons in
much the same way our professors and teachers have
helped us become practical engineers, scientists, and
communicators. All of it enhances the value of an Michigan Tech
graduate in today's marketplace!

E-mail from Kevin Dutcher '82 (dutcherk(at)


A similar situation to football happened during my
Tech years ('78-'82). Tech killed the ski team, they
self-sponsored themselves as a club, and then went on
to win it all.

E-mail from Don Beyer (DBEYER(at)

My birthday was last week and I received a box from at
work from my sister (also Michigan Tech grad 1980) which
contained 4 mostly frozen, FedEx'd pasties from
"Copper Country Pasties" ( made by the
experienced hands of ladies (and men too I suppose) at
the Still Waters Assisted Living Community in Calumet.
Good web site too with lots of local pictures.

The pasties were great! Treated some native Floridians
to the unique taste treat last weekend.

If you ever get a hankerin' for a pasty you can have a
box airlifted to you in a day or so.

Go Michigan Tech football!

E-mail from Roy Schmidt (rds3wave(at)

Hi Dean,

I grew up in the vast expanses of northern Wisconsin,
and I have fond pre-teen memories of listening, late
at night, on a little plastic transistor radio (with
one of those cheesy earplugs -- remember?) to WLS
Music Radio (Chicago), which magically came in at
night. Depending on the weather, I could also pick up
some station out of Little Rock, Arkansas, and I was
always enthralled by picking up something from so far

Later on, I did my stint as a "dee-jay" at little WNBI
radio in Park Falls, and I recall the engineer telling
me that AM transmitter antennae were better placed in
low, swampy areas, and that AM waves traveled far
because they bounced off the ionosphere.

Trying to recall the details, I found this interesting
blurb on

Stations like Radio K (KUOM) go off the air at night
so they don't interfere with the so-called "clear
channel" 50,000 watt powerhouses like WCCO-AM. There
are other stations around the country that operate
during the daytime on 830, WCCO's frequency. But those
stations have to go off the air at monthly average
local sunset so they don't interfere with WCCO's

The reasons for this are:

* AM radio waves travel much farther at night than in
the daytime.

* Back when this clear channel system was set up (in
1934), there were radio stations only in larger towns
and big cities. The clears were established and
protected at night so that people in the countryside
and small towns would be able to get news and
entertainment over the radio.

* The fact that every small town has a radio station
now days is generally ignored as the clears are
generally owned by the big media conglomerates who
don't want to give up any of their power and range,
and have the clout to keep that from happening.

* Radio K, by the way goes off the air at sunset to
protect WABC in New York City . WABC is owned by the
same conglomerate that owns KQRS, 93-X and Drive 105.

E-mail from Jon Kreski (jkreski(at)


Listening to AM radio may be old fashioned, but it can
be a life-saver at times. I work outside in and near
my car quite a bit. I listen to 530 AM during rain
storms. Why? Because I can get a good idea of the
intensity of oncoming lightning storms. Each strike
within 30 - 60 miles is a crackle on the radio. I
find this handy when traveling as well as when out
fishing. I canoe remote lakes while fly fishing. I
take a portable radio like a Walkman along and keep
track of incoming weather. A LOT cheaper than buying
radar or a portable TV!

You might wish to pass this tip on to your readers. I
listen to 530 AM because it is a low frequency and
because there is no station broadcasting on it in my
area, by the way.

Happy listening!

E-mail from llind(at)

My favorite UP radio announcement: Long ago when I
lived in Marquette and Ishpeming had a drive-in movie
I almost drove off the road while laughing when
my car radio announced the following. The announcer
named the current movies at the drive-in. Then he
suggested that customers should stop at the
"CONCEPTION STAND" during the intermission. Before
that I had thought that such activity was relegated to
the back row of cars.

E-mail from Robert Makolin (rink-rat(at)

All the radio talk in this week's newsletter reminded
me of the time the news announcer on WMPL, who shall
remain nameless, read the story of a Mars probe
landing and finding some interesting soil samples
leading to the speculation that there were "living
orgasms on Mars." I don't think he lasted too long after that.

E-mail from Frank Guerin '95 (martini_time(at)

If it was Game 7, it was a League Championship. The
Series was a 4 game sweep by Boston against St. Louis.

I also find that AM radio does well at night and even
during the day. On my way to Deer Camp in Baldwin
some years ago, I listened to the Lions vs. the
Bills. The Lions announcers are usually hard on the
Lions anyway, but these guys were brutal. Turns out I
was listening to a station from Buffalo New York in
the middle of the day along I-96 between Lansing and
Grand Rapids. Similar events have occurred with Red
Wings vs. Blues in the same area listening to KMOX -
St. Louis, MO. Not bad!

E-mail from Brian Churchill (bchurchill(at)

Hi Dean:

I have noticed that you mainly have sports related
items listed in the upcoming events calendar at the
end of you emails. I would like to inform you that
there is also a wonderful orchestra located on campus.
The Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra is comprised of Michigan Tech
students and local musicians. The KSO plays 3-4
concerts through the year in the Rozsa Center. I have
included their 2004-05 schedule for those that might
be interested. Concerts usually start at 7:30 PM but
may change. Contact the Rozsa center or Fine Arts
department for further information.

Saturday, December 4, 2004 (with Michigan Tech Concert
Choir), Messiah, by George Frideric Handel

Saturday, February 26, 2005, Sinfonia Concertante
by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Suite from Scenes from the
Keweenaw, by Michael Irish

Saturday, April 16, 2005 (with Michigan Tech Concert
Choir), Symphony of Psalms by Igor Stravinsky,
Chichester Psalms, by Leonard Bernstein

Dean sez: FYI, the listing of sporting events are in conjunction with
alumni chapter activities and do not represent a bias on the part of
your humble observer, who sings in the Concert Choir.

TechAlum Subscriber Stats

We're at 7,057 subscribers.

Here are the new e-mail addresses from the past week. Please note, we are
using the word "at" instead of the at sign to guard against spambots.

1967 Howard Hueckstaedt hehuecks(at)
1967 Bernard Hubbard forestmeister(at)
1975 Michael Landis mike_landis(at)
1979 Dean Waldie deanwaldie(at)
1986 Thomas Johnson thomasj61(at)
1988 Karen Wallace karenawallace(at)
1994 Mony Kankanala monyvk(at)
1994 Robert Moffitt moffitt98(at)
1998 Joy Cottrell (Minnema) cottrelj(at)
1998 Brady Frederick bjfreder(at)
1998 Travis Brabec travis.brabec(at)
1999 Kristin Kallio (Karnitz) kristin.kallio(at)
2001 Craig Johnson crjohnson(at)
2001 Natalie Schmaltz (Vanderwyst)
2002 Colleen Lareau mlareau02(at)

You can update your information at:

Alumni Association Programs

CHAPTER EVENTS: For more information on alumni chapter events,
e-mail mtu_alumni at or see the alumni chapter site on the web.


16 -- Innovative Approach to Education: Learn about Michigan Tech's
Enterprise Program where students work on real world
projects sponsored by Industry. 7:00 pm, Minerals
and Materials Building, Room 610. Keweenaw Alumni
Chapter. For more information, call 906-487-2400
or email mtu_alumni(at)

20 -- Michigan Tech at Colorado College hockey and alumni event.


29-30 Great Lakes Invitational hockey and alumni event
(Michigan Tech vs. Michigan on the 29th at 4:30).


8 Michigan Tech at Denver hockey and alumni event.
18 Michigan Tech vs. Notre Dame hockey and alumni event at Green Bay Resch Center.
22 Michigan Tech at Minnesota hockey and alumni event.

5 Michigan Tech at Grand Valley basketball and alumni event.
9-13 Winter Carnival
26 Michigan Tech at Alaska-Anchorage hockey and alumni event.

Job Opportunities This Week

ON CAMPUS: Complete job descriptions for these positions are available by e-mailing jobs at

  • Research Scientist/Engineer I--Civil and Environmental Engineering (Position duration dependent upon external funding)
  • Assistant Director of Athletic Communications and Marketing--University Communications

OFF CAMPUS: For off-campus positions, visit the alumni section of the career center's web site (

See you next week